The Royal Canadian Mint have announced a new coin which features one of the North American country’s most enduring symbols of wildlife and ecological struggles of the modern world, that of the polar bear. Renowned for its strength and its ability to thrive in a harsh climate, the polar bear (Ursus maritimus) has become one of the most recognized icons of the Canadian North and North America as a whole. This “King of the Arctic” is the continent’s largest land carnivore and is easily identified by its thick, white fur that keeps it warm as it hunts for seals along the sea ice.
The jade insert on this coin’s reverse features Canadian nephrite jade that was mined in British Columbia, and is prized for its resilience and mirror-like finish once polished. By some accounts, Chinese settlers who were hunting for gold along British Columbia’s Fraser River and the Dewdney Trail were the first to identify jade deposits there in 1886; in the 1930s, European miners also found large boulders from the province’s gold mines. But it wouldn’t be until the mid-20th century that commercial mining of jade was established in British Columbia, which has since become one of the world’s top jade producers.
The reverse image by Canadian artist Cindy Deborah Sorley-Keichinger features a truly Arctic scene, one that tells the story of several of the Canadian North’s animal residents. In the foreground, a jade polar bear and her two engraved cubs have made their way to the tip of the ice pack. The stunning jade insert naturally draws the focus to the mother bear, who has turned her attention away from her cubs to look to the horizon beyond the image field. Behind them, two whales show their tails in the vast expanse of the largely iceless waters—save for a few awe-inspiring icebergs in the background. The polar bear’s two cubs carry on, somewhat playfully; while the smaller cub rests, its sibling takes the opportunity to explore its surroundings. Coming nose-to-nose with a seal pup, the polar bear cub’s curious glance is particularly poignant: neither cub nor pup fully grasp yet that as adults, they will be at odds in their roles as the hunter and the hunted in the polar chain of survival.
The obverse side includes the effigy of HM Queen Elizabeth II as designed by Susanna Blunt and used on all Canadian circulation coinage and many commemoratives since 2003.
|20 Dollars||.999 silver||31.3 grams||38 mm.||Proof & insert||8500 pieces|
With a unique jade insert added to this fine silver coin, the Royal Canadian Mint proudly celebrates this animal of the ice, and the ecosystem it inhabits. The coin is encapsulated and presented in a Royal Canadian Mint-branded maroon clamshell with an outer presentation box.
For additional information on this coin or to place an order, please visit the Royal Canadian Mint product page. Information offered in English and French, international orders dispatched.